Set forth below is the text of a comment that I recently posted to another blog entry at this site:
These are the words of Shiller himself in an interview:
“It’s not a timing mechanism, it doesn’t tell you – and I had the same mistake in my mind, to some extent — wait until it goes all the way down to a P/E of 7, or something. But actually, the lesson there is that if you combine that with a good market diversification algorithm, the important thing is that you never get completely in or completely out of stocks.”
So the guy who invented the be-all-and-end-all metric says flat out that you are using it wrong. But you would have people believe that your understanding of PE10 exceeds that of the Nobel Prize winner who invented it.
No, he doesn’t, X.
Everyone acknowledges that investors need to take their personal circumstances into account when setting their stock allocation. I say that the average investor should be somewhere near 30 percent stocks today. That means that an investor like me, who is in circumstances where he needs to be more risk-conscious, should be at zero percent stocks. Even Bogle doesn’t say that investors should ignore their personal circumstances. You are talking trash.
The part where he says that you should not wait until the P/E10 goes to 7 is wonderful. Thank you very much for pointing us to that. Shiller DID say that in early 2009. I didn’t hear him say wait until it goes to 7, I heard him say to wait until it goes below 10. I recorded a RobCast on that quote and I argued that he was going too far. I said at the time that I thought it made sense for the typical investor to stay with at least a 30 percent stock allocation and also that investors should be gradually increasing their allocations as prices continued to decline rather than waiting for the P/E10 to drop to 10 (or 7) before buying any stocks.
Shiller is now acknowledging that he got it partway wrong. Good for him! I wish that Bogle would do the same. That would be wonderful!
Shiller is not God. He is a giant in the field (as is Bogle). But the reality is that we are all flawed creatures and that we all possess today only a primitive understanding of how stock investing works. We are in the early days of figuring out how this stuff works. We should thank our Buy-and-Hold friends for some huge advances. But we should also tell them all to take a pill when we see them becoming as insanely arrogant as you Goons show yourselves to be on a daily basis in your comments here.
Shiller needs to do three things.
One, he needs to speak out about the criminal behavior of those who have posted in “defense” of Mel Linduaer and John Greaney (and my good friend Jack Bogle). None of should want to see your prison sentences to be any longer than they absolutely need to be. We all should show our respect and affection for our Buy-and-Hold friends by doing what we can to help them out at a time when they are in great pain. I think it would be fair to say that Shiller has been negligent re these matters.
Two, he should write more frequently and in a more comprehensive way about the “how to” aspects of the question. He failed to do this in his book. For Valuation-Informed Indexing to become the dominant model, people MUST hear about the practical side of things and not just the theoretical side. Again, Shiller has been negligent re these matters thus far.
Three, he should speak out more about the DANGERS of Buy-and-Hold. It’s not just that Valuation-Informed Indexing is a far superior strategy. Buy-and-Hold is in the process of ruining millions of middle-class lives. It was the promotion of Buy-and-Hold that was the primary cause of the economic criss. These are public policy matters of great import. Again, Shiller has been negligent in failing to address them until today.
Shiller didn’t actually invent P/E10. That was Benjamin Graham. But Shiller has done more to promote it than anyone else. I have no problem with you giving him the credit. But the historical reality is that Graham was actually there before him. Graham wrote about a primitive version of Valuation-Informed Indexing in the 1930s.
Yes, my understanding of the implications of Shiller’s findings exceeds Shiller’s understanding of them. Nothing could be more clear. Saying that doesn’t take anything away from him. The hardest job is being the first to challenge the dominant model. It was Shiller who was first, not me. Shiller is the creator of the VII concept (unless you count Graham — I would list Graham as perhaps the grandfather of the concept). I would describe myself as the first to fully explore the PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS of Shiller’s “revolutionary” (his word) findings. But, yes, there is a wealth of material at this site showing that I am today FAR ahead of Shiller re the practical implications of his ideas (as I am today far ahead of Bogle — VII COMBINES Buy-and-Hold as it has been promoted by Bogle with Shiller’s revolutionary advance).
Is it a strange reality that some guy whose only claim to expertise in this field is that he figured out how to get words posted to the internet had gone far ahead of both Bogle and Shiller over the course of the past 12 years? It is an exceedingly strange reality.
You know what made it possible?
I don’t mean just the few of you that post at Greaney’s site or at the Bogleheads Forum. I mean all of the investors who bought into the Buy-and-Hold concept and who react with anger when anyone explores the implications of the last 33 years of peer-reviewed research. You saw how that affected Wade Pfau. He has visions of winning a Nobel prize in the days when he was doing honest research and then threw that all away so that investors who had been burned by Buy-and-Hold would not hate him too intensely.
Shiller is human too, X. So is Bogle. If Shiller and Bogle thought that they could explore these ideas and not have people like you threaten to kills members of their families as their “punishment” for having done so, both Shiller and Bogle would have gone far past where I am today long before I came on the scene. Your intimidation tactics are holding us all back.
People learn by talking things over. I didn’t know one-tenth of what I know today on the morning of May 13, 2002. Had I given in to Greaney’s intimidation tactics on the day when he first threatened to kill my wife and children, I would be back where Shiller and Bogle are today. I didn’t. I interpreted the death threats as a sure indicator that there was something terribly, terribly wrong with the Buy-and-Hold Model. Buy-and-Hold is supposed to be science. True science does not prompt people to put forward death threats.
The true appeal of Buy-and-Hold is that it it rooted in emotion and that it appeals to the Get Rich Quick impulse within all of us, not that it is science. We should be helping investors to AVOID emotion, not to give in to it 100 percent. Emotion is the enemy. Emotion is the cause of stock investing risk. When we push emotion so hard, we make stock investing FAR more risky than it would be if we permitted people to learn what the last 33 years of peer-reviewed risk says.
I am ahead of these giants today not because they are dumb or because they are bad. I am ahead of them because I have been working it for 12 years and they have not. Bogle doesn’t work it because he is reluctant to acknowledge a mistake that he has been covering up for 33 years now. Shiller doesn’t work it because he wants to be liked and he has seen how many investors respond when he makes even minimal efforts to explore the practical implications of his revolutionary findings.
We should all be encouraging both Shiller and Bogle and thousands of others to explore these ideas. Doing so is a win/win/win/win/win. You should be doing that. You have money at risk. You should want to learn new things. You are going to learn new things a lot faster when we have thousands of people exploring these issues on a daily basis, not just me.
Those are my sincere beliefs re these terribly important matters, in any event.
I naturally wish you the best of luck with all your future endeavors regardless of what investing strategies you elect to pursue.
I will be writing a column for the Value Walk site re this quote from Shiller. I am grateful to you for helping us all out by pointing us to it.